Battery Disposal

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of. When incinerated, certain metals might be released into the air or can concentrate in the ash produced by the combustion process. One way to reduce the number of batteries in the waste stream is to purchase rechargeable batteries.” (

Heavy metals have been removed from modern alkaline batteries manufactured in the U.S. but they can still be recycled.  Rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals or other constituents which require they be recycled. Whether you use disposable or rechargeable batteries, you should recycle the battery at the end of its lifespan. MIT has recently changed the battery recycling program to capture all types of batteries and to ensure safety measures for proper shipment to the recycling facility.

How to Recycle:

As of October 2009, MIT will accept for recycling all types of batteries, including alkaline batteries. Batteries that must be recycled include: rechargeable batteries such as nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion (button batteries used in watches and hearing aids), laptop batteries and lead acid batteries. Visit the Facilities webiste for battery bin recycling labels.

Battery terminals should be taped as a fire prevention measure during collection and transportation.

Battery disposal bins are located in Distributed Mail Centers (DCMs) and all residence halls. You may also take batteries to the:

  • Stratton Student Center (W20), 1st floor;
  • Stata Center, 1st floor;
  • Facilities, NE49-2100;
  • Facilities Stockroom, E19-107;
  • VWR Stockroom, 56-068;
  • and the EHS Office, N52-496.